Prussia sat on the bed, feeling numb all over. He could feel his hands shaking again, and clenched them angrily into fists to force them to be still. How much time had he spent in this fucking room, tied down and unable to move, and wished to be freed to move around, to exercise, to do anything? And now he could not even bring himself to stand up.

He drew a deep breath, angry at himself once again for his weakness. He needed something to do, anything. He could not bear to see Russia again if he did not have to, but there were others in the house too; he could find Ukraine, ask Lithuania for news . . . He guessed Estonia and Latvia would be avoiding him, as they seemed to avoid everyone as much as they could, and he hated the idea of talking to Belarus again after her betrayal.

Poland. That was who he needed to find, to make sure he was all right; the last nation who had been hurt because of his disobedience.

He got to his feet again with a new surge of energy, glad to have a mission, and left the room; just leaving, being able to move around like this unimpeded, unnerved him. He initially found it exhilarating but then remembered the reason he was able to do so, which immediately dampened his spirits.

He left the room and made his way down the hallway, unsure of where he should be going. He had no idea where to find Poland; where to find any of the other nations, for that matter, or how to avoid them if he wanted to. There was a very good chance he would run into Russia, or Belarus. Ordinarily the risk would have given him a thrill; now it just depressed him.

Another sign of weakness. You can't even appreciate danger anymore. What's wrong with you?

Prussia forced these thoughts from his mind as he descended the staircase; allowing himself to become angsty and depressed was definitely weakness as well.

He caught sight of someone and called out, but as soon as he got a bit closer he realized it was Lithuania. The Baltic smiled at him rather weakly and directed him to the library when he asked after Poland.

Poland was sitting in one of the chairs, his feet tucked up beneath him and one of the books in his hand; he seemed to be drawing in it. He looked up as soon as he heard someone at the door, but unlike the Baltics, who always jumped and looked terrified when they heard footsteps, Poland looked relatively cheerful when he raised his head, and his expression brightened even more when he saw that it was Prussia.

"Hi, bro!" he said cheerfully, waving a hand with a pencil in it; he was definitely drawing in the book. "What's up?"

Prussia, feeling immediately better at the sight of the other nation in good condition and spirits, crossed the room and settled himself into another one of the chairs, leaning over to get a good look at what he was drawing. He was sketching a herd of tiny, carefully detailed ponies in the white margins at the edge of the page. Prussia was surprised to discover that he was a fairly good artist.

"You like them?" Poland asked, grinning. "These are all my ponies in real life; like, I draw them so I won't forget about them, you know? I have to remember them until I get back to them."

He was still so hopeful. The realization gave Prussia a small confidence boost; there was no reason to give up if Poland, who had been through so much, was still optimistic about the future. Granted, Prussia was not the most optimistic by nature, but Poland's attitude was quite the role model.

"Yeah, I like them," he agreed. "Those are really good."

Poland beamed proudly as he tore the page out of the book, making Prussia wince—he hated to see books damaged—then folded it up, put it into his pocket, and flipped pages until he found the end of a chapter, where there was nearly half a page of white space. "Do you have any animals at home?"

Prussia nodded. "My brother and I kept three dogs. Blackie, Aster and Berlitz. And I've got a chick, Gilbird."

"Gilbird?" Poland cackled, looking up from his drawing.

"I named him when I was little, okay?" said Prussia defensively, feeling himself redden. "I thought it was really clever at the time."

Poland raised his pencil to the white space on the page and made himself slightly more comfortable on the chair, then leaned towards Prussia. "Tell me about them," he said. "I'll draw them for you."

"What?" said Prussia, surprised; he had anticipated that Poland would be angry at him, or at least more distant than usual, and had certainly not expected to be offered a favor. Poland simply waited, pencil hovering over the paper expectantly, until Prussia, struggling to conjure up their memories in his mind, began hesitantly, "Well . . . Blackie's a German Shepherd. He's pretty big, and he's brownish and gray and black. His head's mostly gray, with a white stripe down his nose. Aster's a little black dachshund. She's got pointy ears." He smiled in spite of himself. "She used to like to be carried around, and she was little enough that we didn't mind. Berlitz is a golden retriever. He's basically gold all over and his face always looks like he's grinning. His tongue's usually hanging out."

" 'Kay," said Poland, drawing busily. "And Gilbird?"

"He's just a fat little yellow chick. Basically no distinguishing features. He's got a pointy little beak and black eyes."

Poland sketched in silence for a few minutes while Prussia sat watching him, then tore out the page and handed it to him, first signing Feliks Łukasiewicz with a flourish at the bottom. "That's for you," he said.

Prussia took the drawing with both hands, almost reverently. The likenesses were startlingly accurate, down to that stupid-looking grin Berlitz always had on his face, and they sent a pang of nostalgia through him. He had no idea how long it had been since he had seen the dogs or his little bird, and seeing such an accurate representation of them was almost painful.

"Thank you," he murmured, running a hand over the pencil marks lightly, careful not to smudge the work. "Feliks, this is awesome."

Poland puffed himself up, self-satisfied. "You're welcome," he said, delighted at the compliment. "It's just, you know, how I remember, and I bet you like to remember, right? It's like, so you don't lose it."

Prussia gave a strained smile as he carefully folded the drawing up and tucked it into his pocket, knowing as he did so that he would be taking it out and looking at it again many times. He wanted to thank Poland again but could not think of any more words; none that would not simply seem empty.

Poland drew his legs up against his chest and wrapped his arms around them, leaning forward to rest his head on his knees and staring at Prussia. "Do you do anything like that? Like, to remember the past?"

"Yeah." Prussia nodded. "Well, not anymore—I guess I really can't—but I used to keep a journal. I had a lot of journals, actually; I kept them since I was a little kid. I'd write down everything I did, all of my victories, and everything embarrassing other people did so that I could use it against them later." He looked at the ground, suddenly wondering if all of those journals he had kept were still in his room. Probably Ludwig had written about them in one of his letters—one of the letters which had now been burned. "Anyway," he said quickly, changing the subject, "I wanted to find you to make sure you were okay—and to thank you—and to apologize. If you got hurt, it's all my fault."

Poland raised his eyebrows, looking a little taken aback at the quick turn the conversation had taken, but he quickly rallied and when he spoke his voice was his usual cheerful tone once more. "Yeah, broski, I'm fine. Russia can't do me any damage. He wasn't that hard on me. I was worried about you."

"About me?"

"I can take care of myself," said Poland defensively. "And like, remember what you looked like then? Pretty awful. You obviously couldn't take care of yourself, right?"

Prussia scowled. "I was just fine."

"Sure, yeah."

He looked up to find Poland smirking at him, but not maliciously, and smiled rather sheepishly.

"You worry too much about the rest of us," Poland informed him. "We've all got used to this; we know how to, like, deal with him."

Prussia bit his lip, thinking of Hungary. Poland saw the sudden darkness in his expression and sobered a little.

"Seriously, though," he continued, "you're not going to get anywhere just worrying about us; like, we take care of ourselves here, and you can't look out for anybody else if you're getting beaten up yourself."

"Thank you, though, really," Prussia said softly, but Poland had already bent over the book again, searching for another white page to draw on.


A week had passed with no sign of Hungary before Prussia finally decided that it was safe to inquire after her. He spent a great deal of time deciding who would be best to ask, and had finally settled on Latvia, with whom he'd had only a very few dealings, but he seemed to exist in a constant state of anxiety and he thought it would be easy to get information out of him.

He cornered him while the smaller nation was dusting the living room, and tried to make himself seem as unintimidating as possible—a difficult feat, for a nation who since childhood had done his best to seem as intimidating and powerful as possible. Latvia jumped about a foot in the air and backed a few steps away whispering apologies before realizing who it was and calming down visibly.

"S-sorry," he stammered nervously, twisting the dustrag in his hands and staring over Prussia's shoulder rather than meeting his eyes. "I didn't know you were there."

Prussia tried to smile, though Latvia's manner was beginning to stress him out as well. "It's okay," he said, as reassuringly as he could. "I just had a question."

Latvia was staring at him as if waiting for him to make the next move, so Prussia went on, speaking with more confidence than he felt.

"It's about Hungary," he said. "Do you know where she is?"

Latvia's eyes, if possible, got even wider, but Prussia could not read the emotion there; fear? Surprise? Confusion? Sympathy, even? Whatever it was, he did not like it much.

"Have you seen her?" he asked again, as gently as he could, wondering as he did so if the other nations had been ordered not to tell him anything.

A long moment of agonizing silence passed, and then Latvia said nervously, "Haven't you heard?"

Prussia frowned. "Heard?"

"She's gone."


Author's note:

Yay, more Poland! I'm enjoying writing him. I hope this chapter doesn't feel like filler, at least too much. I wanted to bring back Poland just because I know Prussia was worried about him, and anyway he needed an opportunity to thank him!

Thank you to rookanga, tapion580, Don't Tell Them I'm Not Real and Lothlorien93 for reviewing the last chapter! Thanks also to Lothlorien93 for reviewing previous chapters, and for help with the Hungarian translation.

Please keep reviewing—I so appreciate the feedback! Please continue to review as you read, and to new readers, I'd love to hear from you, and please favorite/follow if you're enjoying it!


Author's note #2:

On tapion580's suggestion, I wrote another one-shot called Lass Mich Nicht Allein that's basically just Germany coping with his brother's absence while Prussia is with Russia. I'm going to keep this story in Prussia's perspective since I've gotten this far with it, but I do agree that it'll be nice to see how Ludwig is doing. Technically I think it could stand alone but officially it's a companion piece to Behind the Berlin Wall. I might update it once or twice again once this story progresses a little more. Thank you for the suggestion, tapion580! (So all of you should definitely go and read and review that!)